Stafford Town finally got their first home league win of the season under their belt with a 3-2 victory over Alsager Town at Evans Park. The outcome was far from straightforward however, Stafford falling two goals behind before staging a comeback that looked unlikely given their well known struggles when conceding first in games this season. Fortunately, a brace from Nathan Scott either side of a Charlie Swingwood header, the winner coming in injury time, gives Stafford slightly more wiggle room above the relegation places. Stafford started the opening fifteen minutes brightly, having the majority of possession and creating a couple of chances, including a Jake Cartwright freekick into the box from the left that was headed off target by Swingwood. New signing Vandis Akukwe was making his debut and his powerful overlapping runs on the right with Scott would cause Alsager major problems throughout the afternoon. In the 17th minute, Declan Arber managed to roll his man on the edge of the box and latch onto a clearance by Rhys Williams but his attempt to go round the Alsager ‘keeper resulted in the ball going out for a goalkick. Two minutes later a hopeful Alsager freekick into the Stafford box saw Williams rashly come a long way off his line to claim the ball, colliding with an Alsager player and correctly resulting in a penalty that was dispatched to give the visitors a shock lead. The goal signalled the beginning of a poor spell for Stafford, as Alsager doubled the lead less than five minutes later; Williams slow off his line in reacting to a ball poked into the box, the ball slotted under the ‘keeper into the net. Alsager then had another shot over the bar before Stafford regained their composure, bringing on Cydon Walker to provide more pace upfront and allow a higher press. Scott was then fouled on a dangerous looking break for Stafford in the 37th minute, the wideman dusting himself down before drilling the resulting freekick into the bottom corner to give Stafford a massive lift. Stafford appeared to have seized the momentum back in the game, Walker driving down the left and slipping in Ryan Taylor whose attempted cross was just cut out, although he perhaps should have tried his luck at goal instead. HT 2-1 Alsager Town. Stafford continued their rally in the second half, a dangerous Taylor corner tipped clear early on and Arber having a shot blocked in the box shortly after. In the 58th minute Scott drove into the box and had a shot blocked for a corner; the subsequent delivery by Taylor found Swingwood at the backpost, whose header back across goal looked to have been headed off the goal-line but the assistant referee raised his flag and the goal was awarded. Alsager reminded Stafford that they still carried a threat with a shot over the bar a minute later, as the hosts looked to shuffle their pack to find a winning goal; it had not been the best day for Arber and he was replaced, Taylor taking his place upfront and Reece Bailey coming into midfield to provide fresh legs. Scott dragged a shot wide of the target in the 67th minute after he was fed by Taylor on a counter attack, before Stafford were given a further boost in the 70th minute as Alsager were reduced to ten men for a second bookable offence. Callum White and Taylor Draper had been battling hard in midfield throughout and the former had a shot from distance comfortably saved as Stafford looked to make the man advantage count. As the game entered the final five minutes the visitors were clinging on, Stafford wary of losing a sloppy goal on the break as they pressed for a winner. Taylor and Scott both had shots blocked in the box, White also volleying another chance over the bar. In the 88th minute a cross by Akukwe again dropped to White, but the shot was blocked again as Alsager put their bodies on the line before Scott fired wide from distance a minute later. Stafford pressure was eventually rewarded in injury time; a low cross by Walker from the left reaching Scott on the edge of the box for a shot into the bottom corner to send the Evans Park faithful into raptures. FT 3-2 Stafford Town. Stafford will look to build on this result and make it back-to-back league wins with a massive next outing against Cammell Laird at Evans Park on Saturday 29th October, Laird having a game in hand whilst currently sitting one place and two points below Stafford in the table. Stafford won the reverse fixture 3-0 earlier in the season but will expect a Laird side out to even the score.
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